Saturday, 20 December 2014

Technology and What it Means Today

“Today’s kids, technology has spoiled them.” said an elderly man looking at a boy who was immersed in his smartphone oblivious to the outside world.
“Rightly said, bhai sahab.” Another person contributed his views. “Jab dekho mobile mein hi lage rehte hain.
A simple conversation that I came across which pretty much sums up the current generation and probably even the generations to come. Technological innovations have changed our society drastically over the past couple of decade or so, overall, for the better I would say. But in the process, we’ve become over-dependent on the technology that was meant to simply ease up our life.

There was a time when smoke signals, drum beats and pigeons were used for the most trivial communications. The invention of telephone was a breakthrough for that reason. And not so long ago, mobile handsets were extremely bulky – a far cry from the feature packed smartphones of today that can be fit into one’s hand easily. And not just in communication, we’ve had major advancements in the fields of aeronautics, railways, sports etc.

Railways today are exclusively dependent on electricity, replacing the seemingly ancient method of steam engines. The entire complex network of railway lines spread across a vast geographical area is available on a screen one click away with detailed information of every single train within the network. Similar is the case with spaceships which in today’s date are better equipped to explore the mysteries of the galaxy than they were some years ago. And technology has made an impact in fields like sports too. Be it Hawkeye used in tennis or cricket, goal line technology in football etc. Also advancements in nanotechnology have been harnessed to provide safer and more robust protective gear to sportsmen and elsewhere.

The impact of technology at individual level can also not be ignored. Things as trivial as the pen we use to the hair dryers in our bathrooms, almost everything has benefitted from the innovations. And all this has surely made our lives better, more convenient and simple to some extent. We are more connected with the ones we care about than ever before. A lot of devices are at our disposal that simplify otherwise tedious everyday chores. We are grateful.

But as good, convenient and simple our life is today thanks to the technology, it does come packed with it’s share of limitations, although avoidable. Take for instance the mobile handsets. Granted that we are a lot closer to everyone else, one call or just one message away even in the remotest corners of the globe. But in reality, we have created a barrier for ourselves. Social interaction, long hour chats in the comfort of parks have been replaced by Facebook, BBM, WhatsApp, Skype and what not. Come to think of it, we are in fact a lot more spaced out than being closer to people.

The simplified life of ours due to the devices has given way to couch potatoes – too much laziness in the world today. Very few of us would remember the effort required to wash clothes with bare hands. Of course that ‘fun’ has been replaced by washing machines. We do not sit out in the sun desperately praying for dry hair after a bath. For that we have hair dryers. Gone are those days when we had to physically move our bums to the television set in order to change channels. Not we can wirelessly reconfigure the entire TV from the other corner of the house. Also we are a lot more dependent on computers, machines and electronic devices even for some relatively simple chores.

Not to take anything away from the comfortable life we life today thanks to the modern day technology, it should not be allowed to take over our lives. We should try and limit our dependence on technology wherever possible. We should try writing with a pen on paper once in a while instead of a word processor. And I do not mean we should go back to stone-age for that matter. It’s just that a controlled use technology, allowing some physical movement of our limbs would be a nice change. Let us get out of our computer’s influence and interact with our family. They are nice people.

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